Jul 1, 2020

Capgemini: The importance of data in digital supply chain

Supply Chain
Sean Galea-Pace
3 min
Supply Chain Digital takes a closer look at Capgemini’s report ‘The importance of data in digital supply chain’.
Supply Chain Digital takes a closer look at Capgemini’s report ‘The importance of data in digital supply chain...

As companies become more data-driven, with machine sensors and digital sales generating exponential amounts of data that is ready to be harnessed and analysed.

In addition to their original, intrinsic and functional value, many products encourage users into generating valuable data that can then be monetised through delivering valuable insights. This scales the corporate value of a particular product and the organisation’s ability to harness valuable data. Capgemini’s paper uncovers the significance of data in digital supply chain and how the introduction of the data-driven enterprise is having a considerable effect on supply chains.

Tapping into the potential of data and analytics

Jorg Junghanns, Vice President Europe - Digital Supply Chain, Capgemini’s Business Service, believes data quality is at the heart of supply chain excellence. “The use of data in the supply chain encompasses the full end-to-end scope of processes and activities of the ecosystem – from planning and procurement, to consumer fulfillment, including warehousing and transportation. Within these elements, we find specific vertical use cases of data analytics such as real-time re-routing, demand/supply planning, and sensing and horizontal use cases that are more connected to the rest of the ecosystem, such as master data management (MDM) or intelligent automation. In addition to the benefits already covered, a touchless and autonomous supply chain can only be achieved with consistent and fully integrated supply chain data that drives intelligence and machine learning.

Data quality is the cornerstone of supply chain excellence. Inaccurate, outdated, and inflexible (difficult and tedious to update) data adversely affects operations by making insights irrelevant and/or outdated, and requires considerable manual effort to simply run standard supply chain operations. Conversely, high data quality, accuracy, and flexibility not only saves a tremendous amount of time and manual effort, as well as sustained and standardized operations, but it also enables companies to generate more insights and gain a significant competitive advantage – including time to market and rapid adjustment to changing regulations.”

Junghanns explains that data quality also allows organisations to uncover the full potential of their supply chain platforms. “All too often, companies get bogged down after making significant investments in costly best-in-class platforms without troubleshooting their data issues, leaving them unable to reduce their cost-to-serve and gain the insights they were hoping for.”

In a bid to reduce human interaction which can cause errors in day-to-day operations, the supply chain can become near touchless and considerably more efficient and effective. Automation in supply chain data management isn’t just for productivity reasons, but also for quality, consistency and integration aspects. 

The automation of data creation and cleansing, in addition to regular data quality checks and maintenance, is essential to improving an organisation’s entire supply chain ecosystem.

To read Capgemini’s full report, click here!

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Jun 23, 2021

Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry

Elise Leise
3 min
As international supply chains falter, the Japanese government intends to incentivise foreign chipmakers to build localised foundries

Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.


Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off? 


How Will Japan Pay For It? 

Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving. 


According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option. 


What Do They Plan To Do? 

Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’. 


As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’. 

Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.

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